View Full Version : A Frying Chicken versa a Roasting Chicken

Plano Foodie
04-17-2003, 10:19 PM
Does anyone know the difference between these two types of chickens? The whole fryers are usually about half the price of the roasters. Recently I "roasted" 2 fryers in my Showtime Rotisserie and they were excellent. Is there any reason I should spend the extra money and try a roaster?


04-17-2003, 10:23 PM
I think the only real difference is the size of the chicken. I have roasted both types and never noticed any difference (or maybe I am just kind of out of it!)
I have read about this before, try to do a search...sorry, i have not figured out how to make a link.

04-17-2003, 11:00 PM
Chickens are classified by age, here's the basic guidelines:

Broiler-fryer - a young, tender chicken about 7 weeks old which weighs 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds when eviscerated. Cook by any method.

Rock Cornish Game Hen- a small broiler-fryer weighing between 1 and 2 pounds. Usually stuffed and roasted whole.

Roaster - an older chicken about 3 to 5 months old which weighs 5 to 7 pounds. It yields more meat per pound than a broiler-fryer. Usually roasted whole.

Capon - Male chickens about 16 weeks to 8 months old which are surgically unsexed. They weigh about 4 to 7 pounds and have generous quantities of tender, light meat. Usually roasted.

Stewing/Baking Hen - a mature laying hen 10 months to 1 1/2 years old. Since the meat is less tender than young chickens, it's best used in moist cooking such as stewing.

04-18-2003, 04:46 AM
How interesting. Last week I bought two chickens at Whole Foods. One recipe called for a smaller chicken (around 3 1/2 pounds) to cut up and bake; the other called for a larger chicken (around 5 pounds) to roast whole. So just going by weight, I pulled two chickens out of the case.

I was SHOCKED when I got home and noticed the price difference. The smaller chicken, which was labeled as a broiler/fryer, cost about $5. The larger chicken, labeled roaster, was $15!! And it wasn't all that much bigger. I actually returned it, because I just couldn't stand to spend $15 on a chicken. eeeks. I learned my lesson.

Peggy C.
04-18-2003, 06:34 AM
Alton Brown just did a show (or maybe I saw a repeat) on this. He also said that a roaster wasn't good for frying because of how large it has gotten. It spends too much time in the fryer trying to cook larger pieces and doesn't cook evenly.

He said that if you are going to fry chicken you should get a broiler fryer and cut it yourself, because when you are buying pieces you really don't know if you're getting broiler/fryer or roaster or a mix of the 2.

I hope I said that all correctly...let me see if I can find it on his website.

OK here it is...

Besides, of these six main market varieties of chicken odds are very good that your
local mega-mart is going to have three of them.

So right in the middle of the chicken continuum
we've got the broiler/fryer. Okay. A pretty good
balance of taste and flavor. It's called a "broiler/fryer"
because when properly dissected its surface- to- mass
ratio is such that when cooked in 325 to 350 degree
oil the meat on the inside and skin on the outside are
done at exactly the same moment. It's magical.

average weight 3.5 lbs
Now, if you were to try that with a larger stewing
chicken, you'd find that by the time the outside was
done the inside would still be raw. Besides, with a
chicken this age whenever you try to cook it in a hot,
fast method the meat ends up kind of [rubber ball
bounces past], I don't know, rubbery, I guess. So, it's
Stewing Hen

average weight 5 lbs
On the other end of the continuum we have a
rock/ game Cornish hen. It goes by a lot of different
names, it's still a chicken. By the time the meat is
done on the inside the outside is toast and vice versa.
It's just not a very good candidate.
Rock / Cornish Game Hen

average weight 2 lbs

So, the first piece of the puzzle is in place.

04-18-2003, 07:05 AM
Thanks for the definitions sneezles. my grandparents used to own a (as they called it) meat market. grandmother used to describe chickens that way. for myself I haven't seen anything but fryers in years. I suppose roasters are available somewhere or maybe certain seasons but I've asked and been told that fryers are all they carry. so ended my quest for a " roasting chicken".

Plano Foodie
04-18-2003, 09:49 AM
Thanks so much to each of you for your input. Sneezles and Peggy...lots of great info.

MeMartha, $15! I don't blame you for taking it back. Since they have been working just fine for me, I think I'll stick with the fryer/broiler for my roasting. I have noticed that the breasts seem a bit small, but for everyday cooking I can live with that.